May 7, 2021
Ah, it looks relaxed and pretty, if being a courtesan is your thing!
You may remember the 16-piece Four by Four wardrobe that we assembled, based on the colors in this painting:
The big question from many of you was that I hadn’t really mixed the rose with the neutrals in the outfits that I showed last week. I think that those “mixed” outfits felt naked to me without something to blend the rose accent with the neutrals. So that’s what I’ve looked at first!
For example, these sandals that seem to be silver, with a gold buckle, and splotches of color on them, are perfect with this simple tee shirt and shorts:
And these next sandals have rose and black in the striped part! And yes, this is a pretty dressy necklace, but why not? Unless you’re going to be playing rugby, or holding a small child who will grab it…
These might be the perfect sandals for this wardrobe:
Something as simple as a printed mask or the right athletic shoes can pull together colors in an outfit effortlessly:
Even an “all-black” outfit get a touch of pink!
Gold! I love how the bands on the sandals and the grooves in the earrings echo the stripes in the blouse…
And this outfit could easily go to a doctor appointment, a get-together with co-workers, or a casual dinner:
Maybe the heroine of this story won’t actually have five pairs of sandals, but if she already has black and gold, maybe just 1 more pair would be her choice? Although I have at least one friend who owns more than 5 pairs of sandals…
Accessories make everything more interesting, at least to me!
p.s. Three years ago, we were in the middle of building a Step-by-Step wardrobe based on a photograph of a snowy owl… It’s QUITE the photograph!
I’m in love with this wardrobe and I want every piece of pink. This would work beautifully for me.
I live in Florida and Georgia and I have at least 15 pairs of sandals. I live in them three quarters of the year.
PS. Clarks makes a lovely flip flop in several colors including a rose gold that would be lovely with this wardrobe.
Like this heroine, I struggled with choosing what to put in the different boxes of the 4×4 capsule to make a versatile wardrobe. I have been following VF for quite awhile now. Although I have learned so much from Janice and everyone who comments, it never quite came together. I ended up with a combination of Tote Bag Travel, WTW, an Outfit at a Time, and the 4 x 4 capsule. This worked so well for me that I thought I would share. Here is what I did:
I started out by putting together 2 complete outfits complete with accessories and shoes and bag ala Tote Bag Travel. All were 3 pieces and all in one of the 2 neutrals (navy or gray). This filled in the first 3 boxes of both the First Core of 4 and the 2nd Core of Four. With the addition of a couple of scarves and some jewelry, I was able to make 7 distinct outfits. I use collared shirts as toppers so that helped add to the total combinations as I can wear them layered, by themselves, half tucked, sleeves rolled up, tied etc.
Then I added Outfit #3 using the remaining square of the First Core. I filled in the first two boxes of the Mileage 4, these tops being accent ones (lavender or patterned). Outfit #4 used up the rest of Mileage 4 and the 2nd Core. Again, these were completely accessorized. This could probably fit into the Wardrobe Slot Machine as well because I tried to choose items that mixed and matched well.
The Expansion 4 were filler pieces and a shirt dress. I also added a few more accessories, but no more shoes. I use the Stylebook app so I was able to play virtual paper dolls and tweak the outfits as I went along and save them to create a packing list.
In coming up with these 2 outfits, I noticed that a pair of blue snake skin patterned flats that I had been eyeing to replace my worn-out navy flats would add some interest to the neutral outfits. I remembered that Janice had featured a pair of shoes from DSW in the past weeks so I went back to the VF to find that link and then popped over to DSW to buy the shoes which just happened to be called Vivienne flats (I am not kidding!).
I have come up with over a month’s worth of outfits that I think are distinctive enough that I wouldn’t feel like I was wearing the same thing every day. Because I followed along last year with WTW, I had the core basics that made this work. This exercise also underscored the importance of accessories as does this post. Thank you, Janice and the VF readers!
I saved this entry. I think it might solve my issues. Thank you for sharing.
Oh, and I still love the pink, black, beige capsule. And that is not too many sandals!
I have taken a screen shot of your post — great strategy — thanks for posting ! I have played around with Janice’s various templates too, especially when packing , so your ideas are really gelling with me !
Beth T says
Well done Kathryn. Snakeskin is my favourite animal print. A self pattern or texture always adds interest to plain garments or shoes.
Did you use both navy and gray split between the 4 basic outfits or did you stick to just the navy or just the gray for all 4 outfits ?
The first core was all navy with a plaid topper, the second one I cheated a little and the topper was a solid blue gray as I don’t look that great with gray too close to my face. I also fudged the top on the gray core and chose a white top with a subtle gray stripe that could function as a solid. I had 2 navy (leggings and a skort) and 2 gray (jeans and zip off hiking pants) for bottoms. I am really pleased with it because it covers a variety of weather and activities.
Thank you, Kathryn ! Great job in personalizing what works for you ! Yesterday I thought about your post quite a bit and at some point I want to lay out a 4×4 in my warm colors, using the method that you suggested. Thanks for the ideas !
Happy Mother’s Day !
I absolutely enjoy the accessories posts. I think I have a good handle on my wardrobe, but am working on freshening things up with more accessories; lately earrings. This posts really demonstrates how much the right shoes can make a difference. So helpful!
patricia valentic says
Thank you Janice. Your fashion lessons have taken me from clueless to capable. The lesson today on accessories shows us the power of accessories. Outfits go from plain to amazing. I realize I have all the clothes I need. I have to play with accessories to make outfits. You have taught through example that we do not need to constantly spend on clothes. We should plan our purchases. I am trying to do this,but I do not have your discipline. Thank you once again for your hard work. I consider you one of my finest teachers. I have been following you for years. You are part of my morning read. Thank you, patval
Beth T says
Great accessories, Janice. I should count up my footwear, it is definately more than five! I’m learning how just a hint of an accent can lift a neutral outfit and even add a subtle second accent. Thank you for still including a mask. Even though we are slowly coming out of the UK lockdown and getting vaccinated, I can still see myself wearing a mask in enclosed places for some time to come. I do like to blend my mask with my outfit.
From a prior post with your body description, it sounds like we are body twins , though your coloring preferences are cool, while mine are warm . So I enjoy your posts in finding what works for your figure and your feet !
Beth T says
Thanks Shrebee. You’re spot on though as I have soft and muted colouring, I’m able to wear some browns so as per your post yesterday, I’m developing a new brown capsule. I’m experimenting wearing brownish-taupe with jade, pink, soft purple and lilac. Come autumn winter, I’ll wear chocolate brown with burgundy, plum and teal. I would like to find things in rose-brown. Comments from my husband have been favourable so far! . I’m not sure about wearing brown on the top half but it is very useful to have an additional neutral for my bottom half.
There are such things as “ cool browns”, which I must avoid, as they just don’t resonate with my personal coloring. Nor does taupe — still too cool for me . My coloring is also soft and muted, but clearly beige warm . I have learned slowly over the years what looks BEST ! Best for me, that is ! Can I wear less best, sure, but why bother ? I like the saying “ say yes to the best, but leave the rest “ ! I wore black for a long time to be “ in” , but it did nothing for me and it wore me ! I looked like death warmed over ! Gray is also problematic as is pure white , so I have learned to select what looks best and just wait until it comes on the marketplace, which is sometimes a multi year wait !
However, I too, am vertically challenged with a pear shape and feet that should be more commensurate with my height, but are larger in proportion !
I always try to include bridging accessories when wearing two colors, even if one of those colors is a neutral, so this is a wonderful example of doing just that ! You are a wizard at finding those “ just right” accessories ! So thank you for this and all of your other wonderful visually instructive posts that I refer back to frequently !
Sally in St Paul says
While we often think of print tops and scarves as bridging pieces, shoes are clearly a terrific bridge piece, especially for summer, when adding another layer just isn’t as appealing. I laughed out loud when I saw the espadrilles because the rope soles make them SO PERFECT for bridging another color and beige!
My sense is that we typically see more plain, solid-colored shoes on this blog, which I can understand because they are widely recognized as versatile and practical, but I think “interesting shoes” is one of the easiest yet most under-utilized styling options out there. Whether you want to add a pop of color, play with print mixing, or bridge colors in an outfit, I love using shoes to achieve it. In the vast majority of situations when a heroine is out and about, she’ll be wearing shoes. I don’t wear sandals, but the same function can be achieved using ballet flats, sneakers, etc. Especially if you have settled on a color palette, a pair of interesting shoes can be just as useful as a pair of plain ones.
For summer, fun earrings are another way to add or bridge colors while not risking heatstroke. Janice appears to prefer more refined earrings, but there are a lot of larger statement earrings (that are still lightweight) that can add a finishing touch. I’ve been seeing a lot of colorful resin and enamel options as we enter the warm weather season in North America.
I see a lot done with handbags to finish outfits, even for the workplace, which always confuses and disappoints me a bit. Admittedly, I’m just not a “switch out my handbag regularly” type person, but also an outfit that relies on a handbag to bridge pieces, etc., is going to look off as soon as I get to work and stash my handbag for the day. Travel, errands…that’s a different story. But for work? Who carries a handbag all day at work? It’s like relying on an umbrella or seat covers for your car to make your office outfit come together. (Yes, going to the office, the once and future reality for so many heroines.)
Sally in St. Paul,
I for one have feet that are illogically larger than my height would suggest, and while my wild and crazy side would love to do patterned shoes, feet this size would look like I was wearing clown shoes ! I have to settle for subtle detail on my shoes to break up the vamp . Sigh —.
Beth T says
My feet are very small in size but just very wide at the front with high arches and narrow heels. Slip on shoes and ballet flats fall off. All my shoes have to have laces or straps to hold them on.
Heidi from Germany says
Janice, don’t you ever wonder what we look like in real life?
Yes, sometimes I do. But I see a lot of women in my life, now that we’re not quite as harshly quarantined, and I imagine that all of them are among the readers here!
I wonder LOTS of things…
Heidi from Germany says
What a nice idea! ?
NATALIE K says
Janice, I love your pick of soft gold and pink drop earrings and bracelet in this grouping! hen picking shoes please remember there are those of us that can’t not only ear heels but also aren’t able to ear slide on shoes anymore as ell. Although your shoe choices I absolutely love I’m just unable to ear them! P.S. To all the ladies Happy Mother’s Day!! May the Lord bless!!
For anyone who is viewing this post today, Happy Mother’s Day to all, even if mothering means mothering an aging parent !
Absolutely! Loving care of any sort is important, and worthy of celebration!
love to all,
Pip Law says
What a great peice, we loved reading it over coffee this morning. We wanted to thank you for including the Gold Leather Tote bag from our new Sostter collection!
Have a lovely day,